Altered Lives, Enduring Community

Japanese Americans Remember Their World War II Incarceration

Stephen S. Fugita and Marilyn Fernandez

  • Published: July 2015
  • Subject Listing: Asian American Studies; History / Western History
  • Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 23 halftones, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies
  • Contents

Altered Lives, Enduring Community examines the long-term effects on Japanese Americans of their World War II experiences: forced removal from their Pacific Coast homes, incarceration in desolate government camps, and ultimate resettlement. As part of Seattle's Densho: Japanese American Legacy Project, the authors collected interviews and survey data from Japanese Americans now living in King County, Washington, who were imprisoned during World War II. Their clear-eyed, often poignant account presents the contemporary, post-redress perspectives of former incarcerees on their experiences and the consequences for their life course.

Using descriptive material that personalizes and contextualizes the data, the authors show how prewar socioeconomic networks and the specific characteristics of the incarceration experience affected Japanese American readjustment in the postwar era. Topics explored include the effects of incarceration and resettlement on social relationships and community structure, educational and occupational trajectories, marriage and childbearing, and military service and draft resistance. The consequences of initial resettlement location and religious orientation are also examined.
Stephen S. Fugita is distinguished professor of psychology and ethnic studies, Santa Clara University, and coauthor of Japanese American Ethnicity: The Persistence of Community. Marilyn Fernandez is associate professor and chair of sociology, Santa Clara University.
1. Introduction
2. The Pre-World War II Community
3. The Incarceration
4. Military Service and Resistance
5. Resettlement
6. Marriage and Family Formation
7. Occupational Patterns
8. Religion and Making Sense of the Incarceration
9. Looking Back

"This book comes as a welcome antidote to the tendency to view the internment in simple, black and white terms."
-Canadian Military History